Banco Santander



Major Banks



Santander Group City

Av. de Cantabria s/n

28660 Boadilla del Monte MADRID-SPAIN

T: +34 912890000




  • Dow Jones Sustainability Index: most sustainable bank in the world
  • FTSE4Good
  • 2020 Bloomberg Gender – Equality Index
  • “The best bank” – Newsweek Green Ranking (2017)




Elisa Moscolin


  • “One of the companies that are changing the world” – Fortune Magazine
  • “One of the 10 companies that stand out for their corporate practices focused on the LGBTQI+” – Great Place to Work
  • “The most socially responsible bank in Mexico” – International Finance Banking Awards
  • Santander Brasil was one of the winners of the 2017 Latam Green Finance Awards in the category of eco-efficiency Practices




SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Banco Santander SA is a banking services company, which engages in the provision of banking services to individuals, companies, and institutions.

As one of the biggest banks in the world by market capital, Santander is present in ten core markets across Europe and the Americas, with 144 million customers, 220,000 employees and 4m shareholders. Most of its 14 million customers are individuals but it also serves growing numbers of small, medium and large UK companies. It is a relatively straightforward bank that creates value by serving its customer with financial products and services.

Most of what it does can be described as lending money to borrowers, taking deposits from savers, providing bank accounts and payment services. It also offers a wide range of investment and insurance products to households and other more specialised services and products to companies. Santander’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper. Its aim is to be the best open financial services platform by acting responsibly and earning the lasting loyalty of its people, customers, shareholders and communities. It will do this by being simple, personal and fair in everything they do.

Santander believe that the way they behave is an essential part of their culture, which is based on believing that everything they do is: 

  • Simple: a bank with products and services that are accessible and easy to understand. With simpler, more approachable, and clearer processes. 
  • Personal: a more approachable bank that adapts to each individual’s needs, making every customer and their people feel recognised, unique and valued. 
  • Fair: a bank that treats their customers and their people equally and transparently, creating benefits that affect and integrate clients, shareholders, employees and society. 

Company Sustainable Activity


Launched their Sustainability strategy, based on four focus areas.


  • Reduced carbon emissions by 11.5% year on year, focusing on remote working and meetings.
  • Electricity usage fell by 4.9% in 2018. 
  • Over 99.8% of waste is ethically recycled or diverted from landfill
  • Ranked as joint first lender to renewables.
  • Ranking second of UK banks for emissions reduction.


  • Launched Digital Investment Adviser, helping to make their products accessible to all.
  • £3.2 million raised in three years for their charity partners Age UK and Barnardo’s.
  • Helped 27,000 first time home buyers with mortgages, up 14%.
  • Piloted their vulnerable customers specialist support service with over 7,500 branch colleagues.
  • Invested in small businesses with £20.7 million of growth capital funding and £100.7 million of senior debt.
  • Supported 7,900 startups and small businesses with investment, training, internships and international exposure.
  • Reached almost 72,000 students, up by 87%, with educational workshops on money management, careers and digital safety.


  • £10.6 million invested in training, focusing on flexible learning and skills for the future.
  • Top three UK bank based on The Sunday Times Top 25 Best Companies to Work For 2018.
  • UK’s most resilient bank, for the third year running in the PRA stress tests.
  • Focused on a pipeline of talent, placing for the third year in a row as a Times Top 100 Graduate Employer.
  • Colleagues completed 56,000 volunteering hours in 2018, a 30% increase from 2017.

In July 2019, Santander announced details of its responsible banking commitments, defining ten targets that support the bank’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The targets include:

  • a new commitment to raise over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025
  • as well as a commitment to financially empower more than 10 million people over the same period through the expansion of the bank’s microfinance, financial education programmes and other tools to provide access to financial services.

Santander is one of the core group of founding members of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Responsible Banking Principles, which launch in New York later this month. They are also included in other stock market indices that analyse and evaluate the efforts of companies in the area of sustainability such as the FTSE4Good or the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

In 2016, Banco Santander created the Climate Finance Task Force, composed of Global Corporate Banking, Risks, Compliance, Commercial Banking, Innovation, Strategy, Financial Management, Public Policy and Sustainability. The main objectives of which are as follows:

  • To define the Group’s strategy and position regarding climate change, 
  • To identify and analyse business opportunities and risks that may arise as a result of the transition to a low-carbon economy, 
  • To adapt business processes and information systems in view of new regulatory initiatives, including those aimed at greater transparency in climate change management. 

Banco Santander has committed to become carbon neutral in 2020 by offsetting all the emissions generated by its own operations. The bank, which has 200,000 employees worldwide in 10 core market in Europe and the Americas, has already cut its emissions by 27% between 2011 and 2018, while electricity fell by 15% in the same period. 

Ana Botín, Group Executive Chairman of Banco Santander, said: “Santander is one of the leading providers of renewable energy finance in the world and we are committed to playing our part in tackling climate change. The commitment we have announced today is an important step. We can address the challenge of climate change only by working together and by increasing our ambition and pace.”

In 2019, they have continued to address the challenge of the new business environment…

  • Updated the Corporate Culture Policy, which now incorporates their Leadership commitments under The Santander Way, their updated principles of Diversity and Inclusion, and integrates the Volunteering Policy. 
  • Approved global parental leave minimum standards, which includes minimum period of 14 weeks paid for primary maternity/paternity leave and 4 weeks in a row or divided into periods of 15 days for secondary maternity/paternity leave. 
  • Developed corporate guidelines for good practices on treatment of vulnerable customers, so they can cater for their individual needs and help prevent over-indebtedness
  • Integrated new ESG criteria into suppliers’ certification process
  • Signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles
  • Signed ‘The Valuable 500’ Commitment to put inclusion of people with disabilities on their boardroom agenda. 

…while promoting inclusive and sustainable growth

  • Signed, as a founder member, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking, created to use the power of finance to tackle the major challenges that societies face, and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. 
  • Signed the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, which sets out concrete and time-bound actions that banks will take to scale up their contribution to and align their lending with the Paris Climate Agreement. 
  • Analysed part of their portfolio’s alignment to climate scenarios, as a step towards addressing the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures. 
  • Launched Santander Sustainable & Green Bonds Frameworks and issued a €1 billion green bond, starting their global sustainable debt plan. 
  • Launched a new Green Bond investment fund that completes Santander Asset Management sustainable range, exceeding EUR 1,500 million of assets under management. 
  • Joined the United Nations’ CEO Alliance on Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) to help scale up long-term investment in sustainability development. 
  • Joined the International Wildlife Trade Financial Task Force as a part of the Group’s commitment to the prevention and deterrence of wildlife trafficking.


  • LEED PLATINUM certification in buildings in Poland (Atrium I, Warszawa Atrium II and Poznan Business Garden)
  • LEED GOLD certification in buildings in Germany (Santander Platz and An der Welle 5), Brazil (Torre Santander and data center in Campinas), Spain (Tripark; Abelias; Luca de Tena and data center Norte Santander), and in Poland (Robotnicza, 11 Street). 
  • ISO 14001:2015 certification for the data Processing Centre of Santander Spain.
  • AENOR event sustainability management system certificate of its Investor Day in London in 2019.

Sustainable Development Goals

How company covers SDGs


  • The Prospera microfinance program in Brazil, chosen as good practice by the Brazilian Global Compact Network to achieve the SDGs in 2030.
  • Commitment to financially empower 10 million people by 2025. They have empowered 2M people in 2019.
  • Support to the community: 46 million in social investment and 1.6 million people helped through their social programmes .
  • Commitment of 4 million people helped through community programmes by 2022.


They support the health and well-being of their employees and the communities in which they are present.

  • BeHealthy Program: access for employees to information and training to improve and renew healthy living habits. Access to more than 40,000 affiliated health and welfare centers around the world.
  • Support to the community: +1 million people helped through programs designed to address social exclusion and boost the well-being of people.

SDG 4: 

They invest more in support for educations than any other private company in the world promote the largest private scholarship program in the world.

  • They have 1,333 agreements with different universities.
  • They have invested 119 million euros to support higher education through they programmes.
  • More than 500,000 children helped through programmes to support childhood education.
  • Banco Santander is the largest company investing in education in the world.
  • More than 68,671 scholarships and grants awarded to students in 2019.
  • The largest private scholarship program in the world.
  • Commitment of 200k scholarships between 2019 y 2021.
  • Santander X, their international university entrepreneurship project, chosen as good practice by the Spanish Network of the Global Compact to achieve the SDGs in 2030.

SDG 5: 

They promote a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects society and allows them to face future challenges.

  • New general principles on diversity and inclusion that provide global guidelines and minimum standards.
  • 55% of women in the workforce in 2019, 20.5% of women in management positions.
  • Commitments: Women on board 40-60% by 2021. 30% women in senior leadership positions by 2025 and eliminate their gender pay gap by 2025.
  • In Brazil and Mexico, 7 out of 10 individual entrepreneurs helped through their microfinance programmes are women.
  • In 2019, the calculated gap was 2% and they have committed to reduce it to almost 0 by 2025. They have signed the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.
  • For the second consecutive year, Santander has obtained the highest score among the 230 companies that are part of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

SDG 7:

  • In 2019, they have been the global leader in renewable energy financing in terms of both the number of transactions and their amounts.
  • In 2019, they helped finance greenfield renewable energy projects with a total installed capacity of 8,036 MW equivalent to the consumption of 6.5 million households in one year.

SDG 8: 

They have a prepared and committed team that allows them to respond and meet the needs of customers, help entrepreneurs to create businesses and employment, and strengthen local economies.

  • 94.6% of employees with a fixed contract
  • 8.6% of the staff promoted
  • Flexi Working: incorporates multiple conciliation initiatives.
  • In 2019, they received the Top Employers Europe 2019 certification and they have also been included for the first time in the Great Place to Work list of the 25 best companies to work for in the World as well as being distinguished as one of the best Places to Work 2019 in Latin America.
  • Commitment “top 10 companies to work for” in 6 of their main geographies by 2022. They achieved 5 countries in 2019.

SDG 10: 

They develop products and services for the most vulnerable in society, giving them access to financial services and teaching them how to use these in an appropriate way to manage their finances in the best possible way.

  • 519,996 million euros in loans granted to households in 2019.
  • More than 500 million euros to 800,000 micro-entrepreneurs in 2019
  • More than 1 million people helped through community investment to improve the lives of people at risk of exclusion, poverty or vulnerability.
  • 436 scholarships awarded to students with disabilities through Fundación Universia. And 166 people with disabilities incorporated in companies.
  • The Prospera microfinance program in Brazil, chosen as good practice by the Brazilian Global Compact Network to achieve the SDGs in 2030.

SDG 11: 

They finance SMEs and self-employed professionals who boost local economies, generate wealth and create employment opportunities.

  • 332,881 millions euros of credit to housing in 2019.
  • Their branches and ATMs in remote locations are also an integral part of their strategy to foster access to basic financial
  • More than 1 million people benefited from art and cultural initiatives in 2019.
  • 117,420 million euros in loans to SMEs and the self-employed in 2018.
  • Agreements with multilateral entities such as the EIB and the CAF to boost financing to SMEs.
  • Global digital solutions that promote connectivity between companies, help export and offer more innovative and simple platforms to operate.
  • They invest in fintech that promote financial technology and facilitate access to and use of financial services.

SDG 12: 

They promote sustainable consumption both in their own operations as well as with their clients.

  • Environmental footprint: 2.1% reduction in paper and cardboard waste, 3.5% reduction in internal electricity consumption, and 15.5% reduction of total CO2 emissions in 2019. 50% of the energy consumed by Santander was renewable energy.
  • Commitments: 60% of electricity used from renewable energy sources by 2022 and 100% by 2025. Becoming carbon neutral in own operations 0% by 2020.
  • Commitment: Unnecessary single use plastic free in corporate buildings and branches to 0 tons by 2022.
  • Environmental and social risks analysis: 46 projects financed under Equator Principles criteria.
  • Responsible procurement: New principles of responsible behaviour of suppliers; 93.2% local Group suppliers.
  • Analysed part of their portfolio’s alignment to climate scenarios, as a step towards addressing the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures.
  • Founder member of UN Responsible Banking Principles

SDG 13: 

They support the fight against climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy. And they commit themselves to actively contribute to the protection of the environment.

  • 6,689 MW of renewable energy finance, equivalent to the consumption of 5.7 million households in 2018
  • 1 bn euros first green bond emission in 2019
  • In 2019, they have been the global leader in renewable energy financing, in terms of both the number of transactions and their amounts.
  • Agreements with multilaterals for the financing and development of energy efficiency projects.
  • Financing of vehicles with low CO2, electric and hybrid emissions.
  • Commitment: Green finance raised and facilitated (euros) 120Bn by 2025. In 2019, they achieved 19Bn euros.

SDG 17: 

They participate actively and they are part of the main initiatives and working groups at local and international level as an important way to support SDG 17 on partnerships for the goals.

  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Their president, Ana Botín, is a member of the executive committee. And they participate in the WBCSD Future of Work initiative, by looking into how to adapt their own business and human resource strategy to evolve with the digital age.
  • Banking Environment Initiative (BEI). They participate in two climate related work streams, the Soft Commodities Compact and the new initiative Bank 2030 which aims to build a roadmap for the banking industry to 2030 seeking to increase the financing to low carbon activities.
  • UNEP Finance initiative. Together with 27 other banks, they promote the principles for responsible banking of the United Nations. They also participated along with other 15 banks in 2018 in the UNEP FI pilot project on implementing the TCFD recommendations for banks.
  • United Nations Global Compact. They are committed to the development of their business activity with the ten principles of the Global Compact and they extend them to their value chain, demanding their suppliers to assume and also comply with them.
  • CEO Partnership for Financial Inclusion. They, along with other 9 companies are part of a private sector alliance for financial inclusion, an initiative promoted by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Special Representative of the United Nations to promote Inclusive Financing for development.
  • Principles of Ecuador. They analyze the environmental and social risks of all their financing operations of projects that are under the scope of the principles of Ecuador and participate actively in the evolution of the criteria.
  • Principles of Responsible Investment. They manage their pension funds of employees in Spain and Brazil applying criteria of responsible investment.
  • Others include: Wolfsberg Group; Round table on responsible soy; Sustainable livestock working group; CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project); Climate Leadership Council.


  • Women on the board

Target for 2025: 60%. In 2019, achieved 40% of that goal. 

  • Green finance raised and facilitated (EUR)

Target for 2025: 120bn. In 2019, achieved 19bn.

  • Electricity used from renewable energy sources

Target for 2025: 100%. In 2019, achieved 50% of that goal

  • Reduction of unnecessary single use plastic in corporate buildings and branches. 

Target for 2021: 100%. In 2019, achieved 75% of that goal. 

  • People helped through their community programmes

Target for 2021: 4mn. In 2019, achieved 1.6mn.

Banco Santander is often cited as one of the most sustainable banks in the world. It holds some sustainability certificates, is part of many sustainability listings, and has established clear goals. These goals for 2025 are supported by clear KPIs on the progress achieved. The bank is transparent throughout their annual report, and they seem very committed to environmental efforts. However, they have financed fossil fuels with $25.736 B since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2016, their financing increased by 75% between 2018 and 2019, from $5,123 B to $8,977 B. They also have financed deforestation and 384M for coal mining companies and. They therefore cannot achieve a high rating. They are given the rate C. 


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